Types of power saws and their uses

Whether you want to slice through metal, trim your decking down to size or cut out a hole for a sink in your benchtop, there’s a power saw for the job. But how do you know which one to choose? Bunnings’ Power Tool buyer Paul Bailey gives a rundown of the power saws you need to know.

Circular saw

Don’t be fooled by its name, the circular saw, pictured above, makes perfectly straight cuts in timber. Easily the most popular power saw on our list, a circular saw can slice precisely through plywood, MDF, decking and more. Various blade sizes are available depending on the job – the type of blade determines the depth of the cut.

Best for: slicing timber boards down to size, trimming decking boards, making rough cuts from timber

mitre saw

Mitre saw

A mitre saw makes precise and quick cross, bevel and mitre cuts (typically between 45 and 90 degrees). While it’s mostly used for timber, a mitre saw can also cut through plastic and some metals.

Best for: skirting and architraves, making picture frames and framing timbers, general carpentry.

reciprocating saw

Reciprocating saw

This serious saw packs in plenty of power without the precision of a mitre or circular saw. While it tends to be heavier than other saws and needs both hands to operate, a reciprocating saw is best for those hard-to-reach jobs, demolition projects, and gardening.

Best for: lopping branches, demolition and tight spaces.

jigsaw

Jigsaw

The jigsaw is the ultimate all-rounder. It’s best known for making decorative curves, angles and shapes in all sorts of materials, including timber, plastic, glass, plaster and more. But you can also use a jigsaw to make straight cuts, round corners, and create cut-outs.

Best for: creating decorative timber pieces, cutting sink holes into bench tops.

Scroll saw

The saw of choice for hobbyists and serious woodworkers, a scroll saw can create intricate curves and joints like no other. Even on thin woods, the cuts made by a scroll saw are so clean you’ll rarely need to sand.

Best for: hobby work, woodwork, model making.

Band saw

Almost the opposite of a scroll saw, a band saw is designed to make curved cuts on larger materials. The standout benefit of this tool is its incredible versatility – it can be adjusted to cut much larger material than most saws, yet still manage specialist cuts with odd angles and patterns.

Best for: furniture making, larger decorative pieces.

tile cutter

Tile saw

As its name suggests, a tile saw is designed to make straight cuts through porcelain, ceramic and marble tiles. Using a water-cooled blade, the resultant wet cut minimises dust and delivers fast, precise results.

Best for: trimming bathroom tiles to size, cutting floor tiles.

Table saw

A table saw is great for cutting large sheets of timber down to size. Mounted on a benchtop, it handles straight cuts with ease and can make a variety of cross cuts and rip cuts (cuts made parallel to the direction of the grain).

Best for: ripping melamine or whiteboard down to size for shelving and benchtops.

Metal cut-off saw

If you’re working with metal, this is the saw for you. A metal cut-off saw is best for straight cuts in all sorts of metals, particularly steel.

Best for: straight cuts in steel tube for metal fabrication.

Top tip

Cordless versions are available for most of the saws on this list, offering more portability and convenience. Which saw do you need for your next project?

Now you know which saw to use for your project, view our wide range of power saws to make your choice.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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